Word of the Day : June 27, 2011


adjective hye-per-BOR-ee-un


1 : of or relating to an extreme northern region : frozen

2 : of or relating to any of the arctic peoples

Did You Know?

In ancient Greek mythology, the "Hyperboreoi" were a people who lived in a northern paradise of perpetual sunshine beyond the reaches of the god of the north wind. Their name located them within the Greek world; it combined the prefix "hyper-," meaning "above," and "Boreas," the Greek name for the north wind. When "hyperborean" first appeared in our language in the 15th century, it named those legendary folk. By the late 1500s, though, the word was being used more generally for anything relating to the far north or the people who lived there.


Pauline possessed an impressive tolerance of cold winters, for which she credited her hyperborean ancestors from northern Canada.

"She came through the door tugging him awkwardly by the wrist … and settled into a chair in the waiting room while Elvira's parrot gnawed at the wicker bars of its cage and the little air conditioner I keep in the front window churned out its hyperborean drafts." -- From a story by T. Coraghessan Boyle in his 2010 collection Wild Child

Word Family Quiz

What relative of "hyperborean" refers to large areas of green, red, blue, or yellow light that sometimes appear in the night sky in far northern regions? The answer is ...


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